“The Wizard of Oz” opened Friday night at the Little Falls High School with a huge and enthusiastic crowd in attendance. People started streaming in an hour before the curtain was raised to get the best seats in the house.

The Mohawk Valley Center for the Arts was the recipient of funds from the Samuel Dale Memorial Trust that allowed them to present the production to the audience. The $1,000 donation was used to partially fund the many expenses, such as royalty fees, scenery, sound equipment and costumes.

“The Wizard of Oz” is the art center’s second annual foray into summer community theater, and involves a full-scale production with approximately 75 people.  Included are 40 Munchkins, featuring the youth of Little Falls. The show is cast with members from all over the Mohawk Valley.

According to the ‘Wicked Witch of the West’ Maria Salamone “I was so proud of everyone in that show. Everything came together, from the sets, the acting, to the lights, to the singing, to all the characters…I was so happy with how it turned out. Sometimes when you do a show you get worried that by show night it won’t be ready, but it was.”

“Sometimes it’s hard to do something so iconic, but I really think that it came together so well that people really got sucked into the show,” said Salamone. The crowd size proves that “people in Little Falls want artistic and creative things going on,” she said.

Salamone was merely one of the characters and that’s mainly what the audience sees. However, there are many people behind the scenes, from making the sets to the costumes. “All of a sudden, your character really comes together when you get that costume on, and you have the set and the lights and the sound,” stated Salamone. “You’re in the Wizard of Oz – it’s so not just us.”

Salamone continued “I love playing the villain because I’m so not like that in real life and I love putting on all that makeup and the costume and people are like ‘that’s not you’ and I tell them, you’re right, it’s a character I’m playing.”

A second performance will be Saturday night at 7:30 pm at the school. Tickets are $10 for adults, $6 for children ages 12 and younger and free for children younger than 5 years of age.

Tickets are available from the Happy Waffle and the Mohawk Valley Center for the Arts. They will also be available at the door.